After receiving approval from the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA), a group of entrepreneurs’ plan to base an ultra-low-cost airline in Vancouver is one step closer to becoming reality.
According to Business in Vancouver, the agency examined the business plan and financing goals of Canada Jetlines Ltd., concluding everything was satisfactory.
Jetlines wouldn’t be the first low-cost carrier to be based out of Vancouver – the now-defunct Harmony Airways operated holiday flights to Mexico, Hawaii, Las Vegas, Nevada and Manchester before going under in 2007. Oasis Hong Kong Airlines also had a brief stint as a low-cost alternative, offering service between London Gatwick Airport, Vancouver International Airport and Hong Kong International Airport, losing more than $128 million in the three years it operated.
But as things stand currently, Vancouverites’ only option when it comes to low-cost carries is Air Canada’s Rouge.
As an ultra-low-cost carrier, Jetlines plans to charge fares that are an average of 40 to 50 percent less than Air Canada. But, of course, there’s a catch. Jetlines passengers will face a multitude of fees, including additional charges for carry-on and checked bags, meals and amenities such as in-flight iPads.
But passengers who can successfully navigate the field of fee-landmines should see an increase in savings. Be careful though – fees also kick in if reservations are made over the phone rather over the internet, or if you use credit card instead of a debit card.
The next step for Jetlines is to get approval from Transport Canada for an operational certificate. To get final approval, in-flight and safety management system manuals must be written, something Solloway says has already been completed.
In order to make the application to Transport Canada, however, Solloway and other Jetlines investors must first buy at least two planes.
Solloway hopes to be able to lease two Airbus A319s, which have seating for up to 138 passengers, from the same airline with the intent to buy leases on another 14 A319s by 2017.
Flights would operate across Western Canada, including five of Vancouver’s top 10 domestic markets as potential destinations – Edmonton, Kamloops, Kelowna, Prince George and Winnipeg.
Transport Canada says processing Jetlines’ application will likely take between four and six months, meaning, if approved, the airline would be on track to launch flights in spring 2015.
After raising $4 million in initial financing last year, Solloway’s group is now in search of another $48 million to get the airline up and running – though a goal of $100 million has been set in order to do some rapid expansion after the launch.
Once launched, Solloway says Jetlines will employ 130 people full-time.
Featured Image: Commuter Plane Landing via Shutterstock